Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Writing tablets - Writing tablets with Chinoiserie scenes

Writing tablets with Chinoiserie scenes

  • Object:

    Writing tablets

  • Place of origin:

    Dieppe (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ivory, partly gilded, with brass mounts with paper backing

  • Credit Line:

    Alfred Williams Hearn Gift

  • Museum number:

    A.58-1923

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This set of six ivory writing tablets is held in a cover. When the case is opened, six paper-thin ivory tablets, each with pierced floral borders, and held by a metal pivot, fan out. The set would probably have been in fact a luxury courtly item, perhaps never intended for use. Such items were made in Dieppe during the 18th century. The two leading cities for ivory carving were Paris and Dieppe. Luxury items, such as this and combs, mirror cases, boxes and gravoirswere often made in Paris, especially during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. During the seventeenth century Dieppe became increasingly significant for small-scale sculpture in ivory, perhaps because it was a port.

Physical description

This set of six ivory writing tablets is held in a cover with pierced ivory scenes of buildings, figures and foliage in Chinoiserie style against a backing of pink paper. The figures and building on each side of the cover are partly gilded. One one side are a man holding a fan and a boy, seated in a garden with a European-style pagoda in the background; the boy seems to be playing a drum. The scene on the other side is practically identical, although here the boy does not have a drum. When the case is opened, six paper-thin ivory tablets, each with pierced floral borders, and held by a metal pivot, fan out. The cylindrical cavity at one side of the writing case may have been used to hold a stick of graphite, or other material suitable for writing on ivory. X-radiographs show what could be a stick of graphite inside.

Place of Origin

Dieppe (made)

Date

ca. 1750 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Carved ivory, partly gilded, with brass mounts with paper backing

Dimensions

Height: 9.7 cm, Width: 5.2 cm

Object history note

Given by Mrs Ellen Hearn, Villa St Louis, Menton in 1923; this and other objects presented at the same time were labelled as the Alfred Williams Hearn gift.

Descriptive line

Set of writing tablets, ivory, with Chinoiserie decoration, France (Dieppe), ca. 1750

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 81
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 261, pp. 272, 3

Materials

Ivory

Subjects depicted

Fan; Buildings; Boy; Foliage; Figures; Garden; Pagoda; Man

Categories

Accessories

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.